Historical Poetics – an approach to literary history and the history of culture pioneered by Alexander Veselovsky (1838-1906) – has supplied the theoretical basis for the work of major 20th c. Russian literary theorists and historians, including Viktor Shklovsky, Mikhail Bakhtin, Olga Freidenberg, and Mikhail Gasparov. Beyond Russia, Historical Poetics finds partial analogues in German “morphological poetics”, Erich Auerbach’s historical approach to literary style, and Fredric Jameson’s work on genre.
The members of the Historical Poetics Working Group pursue theoretical and historical work on literary form viewed sub specie of the history of culture. At the center of the HPWG’s interests are the phenomena that belong to the longue durée of literary/cultural history, such as the formation, evolution, and reception of devices, genres, styles, plot elements, conceptual categories, thematic constellations, and literary systems.
Kate Holland (U. of Toronto); Ilya Kliger (NYU); Michael Kunichika (NYU); Boris Maslov (U. of Chicago); Victoria Somoff (Dartmouth)